Madden crowned NGA champ

Courtesy: Timmins Press

August 25, 2014

TIMMINS – Matt Madden was crowned the 2014 Northern Golf Association champion at the Hollinger Golf Club early Sunday evening.

It took an extra three holes, however, for the former Iroquois Falls resident who now lives in Port Colbourne to distance himself from Timmins’ own Chris Wilson.

The two golfers both shot 36-hole rounds of 145 to force the extra play.

“It was the second playoff of my life, so it was stressful, but not as stressful since at least I knew what to expect,” Madden said.

Both golfers birdied No. 18 and then parred No. 1, before Madden parred No. 2, while Wilson bogeyed the hole to end the playoff.

“Fortunately, he went first, so I got to watch what he did,” Madden said.

“I took a conservative approach, I was just trying to hit greens, like I did all weekend, to give myself a chance to either keep the playoff going, or have a birdie putt.”

Unlike Madden, Sunday’s playoff was a first in the golf career of Wilson.

“It was really, really exciting, I thought,” he said.

“It was good experience for me. Unfortunately I didn’t win the playoff, but Matt played really well.”

Wilson tried to stay aggressive throughout the extra play, a strategy that worked out OK until he got to the last hole.

“I stayed aggressive and I took an aggressive line on No. 18 and hit a really good shot,” he said.

“I wanted to make birdie on No. 18 and give myself a chance for an eagle, which I did. I had about a 16-footer for an eagle attempt, while Matt had the up and down for birdie and he got up and down and I missed my eagle putt by about a few inches.

“Normally on No. 1, both rounds, I hit a five iron to lay up on No. 1, but I decided to go with a driver on the playoff hole, to stay aggressive. I hit a good shot and then we both made par on No. 1.

“Then, on No. 2, I pulled my drive over and I got in a little bit of trouble and made a bogey, while Matt made a par.”

It all came down to that one drive, a shot that Wilson no doubt wishes he had back.

“That was definitely the turning point,” he said.

“I pulled it a little bit right off the tee and he just laid up and hit it in the fairway, just short of the green and he got up and down while I had to take an unplayable lay and punch out, which I did. I got up and down for bogey, but he got up and down for par.”

Other than losing in the playoff, Wilson was pretty pleased with his two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

“I hit the ball pretty well, but I didn’t make very many putts on the weekend,” he said.

“That was a little bit discouraging, but I hit the ball really well, tee to green.”

Prior to the tournament, it had been some time since Madden had played the Hollinger course. He moved down south for school and hockey six years ago.

“Fortunately, I play down south, so the greens weren’t like … a lot of people said the greens were very fast this week, but I was very comfortable on them,” Madden said.

“It was probably one of the better putting weekends I have had all summer and I also hit a lot of greens in regs, which helped me with the putter.”

The putter wasn’t the only club working well for Madden on Sunday.

“My driver was working well,” he said.

“I kept it in play and gave myself chances to make pars.”

Like many of the golfers who took part in the tournament, Madden found the layout at Hollinger to be pretty challenging.

“It is one of the more challenging courses that I have ever played,” he said.

“Every shot you have to think about, while other courses have the holes that you can kind of swing away and still make a par, whereas Hollinger is tight, the greens are quick and you have to think about every shot all day long.”

Madden didn’t hesitate when asked which of the 18 holes was the most challenging for him.

“I think it would be the No. 6, that cliff hole,” he said.

“I think that is everybody’s most challenging hole. It can make, or break a round. Fortunately, I birdied it today.”

Earlier in the week, the weather forecast had called for rain but there was not hint of precipitation during the three-day event that included a practice round on Friday.

“It was very hot out there today,” Madden said.

“It wasn’t supposed to be windy, but there were a few holes where the wind definitely had an effect, especially No. 10, with it already being 600 yards and the wind was in our face, so it was a very gruelling process.

“Other than that, though, it was a great day to golf.”

Steve Coutts, who co-chaired the event along with Owen Rigg, was pleased with how things turned out.

“The weather was spectacular,” he said.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The forecast looked pretty grim earlier in the week, we were fairly concerned that it was going to be pretty wet, but we got fortunate.

The tournament attracted 52 golfers, with 48 of them advancing to the final day on Sunday.

Following are the top four finishers in each of the tournament’s flights:

Championship Flight — First, Matt Madden, 145; second, Chris Wilson, 145; third, Chris Cooke, 153; fourth, Andy Bennedetti, 153.

First Flight (two-day score) — First, Mike Bilodeau, 156; second, Bob Chasse, 158; third, Brooks Dzilums, 162; fourth, Gord Ouimet, 163.

Second Flight (two-day score) — First, Gary Sullivan, 159; second, James Daniels, 161; third, Andrew Bragagnolo, 162; fourth, Mitch Guay, 164.

Third Flight (two-day score) — First, Guy Ginter, 164; second, Kevin Legault,169; third, Chris Duguay, 173; fourth, Shawn Dillon, 174.

Fourth Flight (two-day score) — First, Chad Brousseau, 167; second, Seb Vachon, 171; third, Eric Martineau, 171; fourth, Jordan Akiwenze, 176.

Fifth Flight (Sunday scores only) — First, Joe Lemaire, 82; second, Nick Oreskovich, 83; third, Louis Tremblay, 86; fourth, Mark Dillon, 91.